Summary People's satisfaction with chewing ability is not determined entirely by their mechanical chewing function. Instead, it is a complex measure that embraces broad physical, social and psychological components. Using data from the Florida Dental Care Study, a prospective longitudinal study of oral health and dental care, this current study aimed to identify the longitudinal relationships between changes in satisfaction with chewing ability and changes in other dimensions of oral health and oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). A multidimensional conceptual model of oral health and OHRQoL was applied to guide the analysis. Most dentate people were satisfied with their chewing ability. However, changes in satisfaction with chewing ability were common: nearly 11-22% of subjects experienced improved satisfaction, depending on the interval; while about 12-18% of subjects experienced deteriorated satisfaction by the end of the interval. Changes in satisfaction with chewing ability were significantly associated with changes in other aspects of oral health and OHRQoL. Onset of certain oral health problems/conditions or constantly having such problems was associated with a lower probability of reporting improvement in satisfaction and a higher probability of experiencing deterioration. In contrast, recovery from certain oral health problems/conditions or not having such problems was associated with a higher probability of improvement and a lower probability of deterioration. © 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.